Dontnod idles in Twin Mirror.
Dontnod continues on his trampled path of important choices among motley people, but this time the problems shine through more than ever. The beautiful environments can not save the game from its unsympathetic protagonist, the thematic shortcomings and all the technical shortcomings.
Sam Higgs is an ass. He is also the digging journalist who revealed irregularities around the mine in his hometown of Basswood, West Virginia. When the mine later closed, Sam became a persona non grata in the small community and ran away. Two years later, he returns to attend the funeral of his friend and colleague Nick, but it does not take long before the fuss about the death begins to show. Sam and his ex-girlfriend Anna start digging into the mystery and it soon becomes clear that the quiet area of the city hides something terrible.
Sam has no direct superpowers but can go to his mind palace to experience memories or recreate events. These sequences are aesthetically pleasing, but are really just a few layers of sparkling paint on top of a simplistic puzzle with a ready-made solution.
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What is it?
Sleepy small town mystery.
I7 2600K, GTX 1070, 16 GB RAM
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There is a time when the game really jumps the shark – a sequence when Sam and Anna visit a collective of tents and caravans where addicts and outcasts have found a community. One of the camp residents was involved in the plot and Sam wants to question this guy, but is not allowed to walk around the campsite anyway. Sam decides to create a distraction by lighting a fire on a large and freshly painted wooden bear that one of the residents carved. As I said, Sam Higgs is an asshole.
As a player, of course, I’m forced to become an accomplice when Sam goes to his mind palace and plans his atrocity. Anna agrees to destroy a woman’s garden hose so that she cannot help with the extinguishing work. This sequence gives me bad vibes on several levels. The whole thing is reminiscent of the completely shameless logic that the late nineties adventure games dealt with, as when agent Brent Halligan in Mystery of the Druids poisoned a homeless man and stole his small change so that he could use the telephone booth. The game seems to try to talk about the widespread pill abuse that plagues American mills, but the story is as short-sighted and banal as it can get. That Sam uses violence against those who are most vulnerable in this whole problem gives a really bad taste in the mouth. Maybe the screenwriter is trying to say something about the fact that things sometimes have to be destroyed in order to be saved or something like that, but it is so ridiculously done that it becomes purely tragicomic.
Our main character’s panic attacks are reduced to silly mini-games and the story lands in a kind of high school idea that social ability goes against the analytical. Dontnod’s games have always had an ability to stay with me for a long time. I think that too Twin Mirror will be there in the back of my mind for a while to come, but not as a nostalgic memory but as a series of questions about how in full swing it could be so harmless, misdirected and sad.
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